Long Term Diabetes ComplicationsPosted on September 27, 2013 by ECR Louisville in Blog, Vision Loss
Long term complications
Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetes-related eye complications are very common. It is the leading cause of blindness and vision problem now. If left untreated, they lead to the deterioration of vision and ultimately blindness.
Diabetic Retinopathy is caused by damage to the small blood vessels of the retina in the back of the eye. The small vessels can be damaged by high blood glucose and high blood pressure. Thus an individual who suffers from hypertension is at a higher risk of developing diabetic retinopathy than those who have a normal blood pressure. The high blood glucose levels hinder the flow of blood, and thus oxygen, to the cells of retina. This hinders the working of retina and thus leads to improper vision. The early stage of this disease is called non- proliferate diabetic retinopathy, characterized by the development of occasional small blisters caused by enlarged capillaries and small hemorrhages on the surface of the retina. Moderately severe to very severe non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy is also known as pre-proliferative diabetic retinopathy. The blurred and distorted vision is because of macular edema.
Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is the advanced form of diabetic retinopathy; the new blood vessels break, as they are weak and leak blood into clear gel of the eye, which will lead to floating spots in the eye, blocking vision. The pace of damage is not similar in both the eyes but, both the eyes are affected by this disease. Some times one eye is affected more easily than other. After some period, the swollen and scar nerve tissue of the retina is totally destroyed and pulls up the entire layer of retina and detaches it from the back of the eye. Retinal detachment is the cause behind blindness among diabetics in middle age. A diabetic must go for the regular eye checkup so that the early stages of diabetic retinopathy can be detected and treated in initial stages itself, with less harm to the eyes. Blood sugar levels should also be monitored and maintained to prevent blood vessel damage.
There is no pharmaceutical therapy available at present that stops the progression of diabetic retinopathy by treating the underlying process of micro vascular damage. Current treatment options (generally reserved for late stage pre-proliferative and proliferative diabetic retinopathy and sight-threatening diabetic macular oedema) include two different forms of laser surgery. Laser therapy seals the leaking blood vessels in the macula, slowing the swelling that causes impaired vision. This procedure does not improve blurred vision but it can prevent it from worsening. While laser surgery can usually prevent vision from deteriorating, in most cases it cannot restore vision that has already been lost.